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How is the Spring season going for folks?
My business has been growing for four years in a row. I am just a few weeks away from entering my fifth year. Each month has been better than the last (allowing for some seasonal variation). I have 99% five-star reviews on Customer Lobby and I just got started on Angie's list with five grade-A reviews in a row. I have part time helpers also, and had been using them more and more. My standing in google searches is better than ever.
That is... Until February 1, 2013, when the bottom suddenly dropped out of my business with no apparent cause. We are now at the end of April.
Is anybody out there expecting a Spring peak to their carpet cleaning business and NOT getting one? Is it the economy with the Federal furloughs, or is it just me? Is Spring cleaning late this year?
This spring is off to a slow start for me as well!
I suppose the Boston Marathon Bombing could have shut down calls for a week. I am near Boston. That MAY explain a portion of the lag, and I hope its just a lag. I did have to postpone one job because the town I was going to was "locked down".
Funny how a February Blizzard slows carpet cleaning.
I work on the Cape and have been working most every day since March with the last week or so picking up to multiple jobs per day. You should have a good spring with this nasty winter.
Are you sending reminder cards?
Do you MAIL a newsletter?
How about an occasional, 3-4 times a year, constant contact e-mail?
Do you network?
Cold call commercial accounts?
These are things that I do consistently, except cold call which I need to, and they really help with retention. Most of my business the past two months have come from repeats and referrals.
Thanks for the reply. I do those things, but maybe not as much as I should. I was growing consistently for four years, and was still growing in January. In February everything stopped, and hasn't restarted. Still trying to figure out what has happened.
I did stop print ads. That is one conspicuous change. But that is puzzling because I never traced more then two or three hires to print ads anyway!
Commercial has been steady since Feb Actually this past Feb was the best month I have ever had Ive been cleaning for almost 3 yrs. Residential has been very slow due to the late spring (I hope)
Slammed!!! Have not had a slow down this year
Jon, I think the many snow storms that hit the New England area had a lot to do with the slow down that you experienced, as I did as well. I'm not sure the Marathon tragedy had any real effect, other than over a couple of days when everyone who was able to, was glued to their TV screens watching the hunt for the kid in the boat.
My own April went very well, and that is continuing into May. Unfortunately (sort of) I planned a trip to S.E. Asia, accompanying my wife on a trip here with several of her fellow faculty at Tufts Univ. Med. School. While here (Chiang Mai, Thailand and Nha Trang, Vietnam), I am responding to customers via email, so I'm working and sightseeing at the same time.
Commenting politically, it's very strange in a way being here in VN. I was first here in 1965 wearing the uniform of a U.S. Navy Lieutenant, when everybody thought the move to take on Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Cong was a great idea. Given the destruction that the U.S. caused here pursuing such a dubious and badly thought out goal, I have been amazed at how well Americans are treated here. And it's not just because we spend some money here. There are very few Americans here as tourists. The largest single group is the Russians, and the Vietnamese hate the Russians, even though it was the then-USSR which was helping out Ho and the V.C. against the U.S.
OK finally my Spring started!
After a real LOUSY February and March, the worst yet, business looks like it used to again. After a bad start to April, April turned out average, and May is looking good... booked solid for five days out, Saturdays too, and the phone is ringing again.
1) February and March are almost non-existent for the residential carpet cleaning business here in New England.
2) 50% of a carpet cleaner's job is marketing. The day that I stop making a full effort at finding and executing on new ways to get customers, is the day that I go out of business. I had a busy early Winter, and so I let my marketting slide. If your a newbie just entering the cc business... remember that. You will eventually get and keep sufficient customers so long as you never stop your marketing efforts (and do a good cleaning job). Marketing includes all ways of getting customers: advertising, networking, guerilla marketing, encouraging referrals, internet marketing, newsletters, etc. etc.
If your a cleaner in a cold weather state you'd better make sure you save for those cold months. I was able to save enough to spend Jan/Feb camping in Florida, this years goal is to go Dec-April. I'm looking forward to being a snow bird
dang, if only my wife loved camping like me.